What is legal meaning of proposal according to law ?

“ When a person signifies to another his willingness to do or abstain from doing something with a view to obtain the assent of the other to such act or abstinence, he is said to make a proposal” cl.(a) . The definition involves the following important points:

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(i) It must be an expression of willingness to do or abstain from doing something

(ii) to another person


(iii) with a view to obtain his assent there to, to which may been added and further term viz.

(iv) that expression of willingness must be made with a view to create legal obligations (Anson).

Thus there can be no “proposal” by a person to himself. It must always be to another person. Further it must been made with a view to obtain the assent of the other. Thus a casual inquiry or mere statement of intention is not a proposal. As an instance illustrating (iv) may been mentioned an invitation for dinner, which, though accepted, will not become an “enforceable agreement,” i.e. a “contract” ,because, though it fulfills all other conditions of a “proposal”, it does not satisfy the last condition, as it is not made with the intention of creating a legal liability. Similarly, where parties expressly stipulate that the agreement will not be legally enforceable but and shall only bind the parties as and matter of honor, no contract will arise (g).

Whether in given circumstances, there has been a “proposal” is and question of construction depending upon the fact of each case. A “proposal” is also sometimes called an “offer”. An “offer” can be made either orally or in writing or by conduct. In the first two cases it is said to be “express”. In the last case it is called as “implied”.


A Tramway Company running trams on a particular route makes an “implied” offer to carry intending passenger over the route at the scheduled price. A receipt is not an “offer” so as to bind the acceptor to the terms thereof. Thus where A hired a deck chair from a Council and having paid hire, was given a ticket, which contained a clause exempting the Council from liability for accidents and damages, it was held that the acceptance of the ticket did not prevent A from suing the council for injury caused to him by his chair collapsing.

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